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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

McCain slides and slides « Previous | |Next »
October 20, 2008

Things don't look good for the Republicans in the US given the difficult economic situation in the US for many households. It is not obvious that the Republican fear and smear campaign---the "Obama-is-a-Muslim" line of GOP attack --is going to enable McCain to catch the lead Obama has established in the polls, raising money and crowds at rallies. The Democrats look as if they are working to build a majority in Congress .

The trouble is that the talking points that paint Barack Obama as anti-American is all that attack is all they have. McCain's response to the economic crisis has been poor, the Republican brand is shot, and the concern in 2008 is health care plans, regulatory schemes and unemployment benefits. McCain's response to the structural economic crisis is more tax cuts, and these by themselves, are not enough to prevent the Republican wreckage or reflate the American economy.

Tax cuts are not enough since the shift of income shares away from wages and consumption, toward profits, has characterized the pattern of economic growth and development over the last twenty-five years. There has been a widening gap between rich and poor, or rather between capital and labor; decreased productive business investment, rising federal deficit and a skyrocketing current account deficit and declining economic growth.

Some form of job creation is needed to counteract the falloff in consumption and so help economic recovery. Barack Obama has released a "rescue plan for the middle class" that would give businesses a $3,000 refundable tax credit for each American job created and finance public works projects that the campaign estimates will create or save one million jobs.

McCain's attacks against Obama have boomeranged. The election is in 17 days, and McCain's "straight talking" express needs something to upset the dynamics as Obama keeps producing stories and events that sustain his momentum and run out the clock. McCain---"I will fight for America"---doesn't understand that a crumbling U.S. economy might change America's global stance by constraining America's freedom of action internationally. He does not sense the growing disparity between the historically hegemonic role of the US on the world stage and its diminishing capacity.

The Republicans are going to have to rebuild after 2010. Maybe they can do so by cultivating ignorance as a political strategy.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:56 AM | | Comments (9)
Comments

Comments

James Ridgeway in A Jobless Rescue? at Mother Jones makes a agood point about the Paulson Plan that bailed out the US banks. He says:

What we have today, it appears, is a Keynesian policy for banks and big businesses, and the Mellon plan for everyone else. This is consistent with the longtime Republican approach, which offers government support to corporations and the rich in the name of stimulating the economy but denies it to the working people who actually create the wealth.

And buy the consumer goods on credit.

Barack Obama is likely to do much better in red states than John Kerry did and will drive up turnout in blue states. This makes it very difficult for McCain. It is looking virtually impossible for John McCain to win the popular vote. Will McCain win the electoral vote?

Just like our last Federal election, it's a done deal, but there's an expectation that the GOP will pull a rabbit out of a hat, organise a terrorist attack or something out of desperation.

Unlike our election, people are more afraid of the economic mess than terrorists right now, and McCain can't compete on that score no matter how many plumbers he produces.

Perhaps if the electoral rules were to be changed in America dissalowing donations from Islamic Fundamentalists and other dubious organisations The Republicans would be on a level playing field.Whoever heard of a Muslim group financially supporting a man who gave up the Muslim faith to become a Christian.
Are Americans stupid?

Lyn,
by all counts the Presidential race is closing fast.There is a the downward arc to McCain's campaign. Upscale moderate Republican voters who might be attracted to John McCain for economic reasons recoil because of the social conservatism symbolized by Palin's presence on the ticket.

Still there are a lot of Democrats in southern America (eg., Indiana, Virginia and North Carolin) who are socially conservative and fiscally conservative. Barack Obama is a liberal. His message is not going to appeal to them.

Maybe Joe the Plumber can turn it around for the Republicans against the oh so nasty left.

Gary,
McCain is doing more than tax cuts. He has promised a spending freeze, which most economists believe would be a terrible move during a recession, and said he'd first take a hatchet, then a scalpel to the federal budget, which sounded a little extreme given the recession. McCain is proposing a policy that will require large budget cuts and he has not told the public where he would make these cuts. Health care?

Gary,
That nasty left article is hilarious. The evil left rummaging around in Joe the Plumber's personal life looking for dirt while the blameless and straight faced right try to paint Obama as a Muslim terrorist. No hypocracy there at all.

From all accounts McCain's appeal is increasingly limited to the extreme right end of the spectrum, and that's getting worse as the election gets closer and the campaign gets more desperate.

Lyn, The Wall Street Journal sets out the strategy--history and hope:

History is important because it suggests that presidential races usually tighten in the final two weeks. Hope, in turn, arises in the McCain campaign because it thinks it finally has found a tax argument that is working in the contest's final stage.

The tax argument is Joe-the Plumber---who said that under Obama's plans his taxes might go up if he bought his business, and complaining that he isn't interested in seeing his taxes being used in an effort to "spread the wealth" around America.

Gary,
I've been trying to keep up with the 24/7 discussion at the Poll Bludger. It appears that whatever message the McCain campaign is working on, they're only working it in what we would call safe seats. They've been pulling the campaign out of some swing states that Bush won last time. So it seems that whatever the message, they're preaching to the converted.